Does Coconut Oil Help IBS?

  • Nope. It's pure fat, and all fats are GI stimulants.

    • Why? With IBS, fats often trigger your gastrocolic reflex to overreact.

    • Result? Spasms, cramps, diarrhea, gas, rebound constipation, or all of the above.

  • A low fat - NOT fat free - diet is important for keeping IBS calm.

    • Choose heart-healthy plant or fish oils, never large quantities, always with a soluble fiber foundation to keep bowel function stable.

    • Coconut oil counts as a heart-healthy fat, but it's still a potential IBS trigger.

  • Coconut cream, milk, and shredded coconut are also high fat - limit or just avoid.

    • (Tip! You can fake coconut milk for cooking by adding coconut extract (at grocery stores by the vanilla extract) to flavor soy, rice, oat or other non dairy milks.)

  • Coconut water, however, is virtually fat free, and safe for IBS.

  • Coconut oil may actually have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal benefits.

    • But, by definition IBS does not involve inflammation or a fungal overgrowth. A finding of these would actually preclude a diagnosis of IBS in the first place.
Tip Takeaway: Use coconut oil in small amounts only, always with your soluble fiber foundation foods, just as you would other heart-healthy plant fats.

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